October is Adopt a Dog Month; so, it seemed a good time for me to share the story of my most recent adoption, Ali (pronounced Alley as in Alley Cat). Ali was named after my son’s favorite video gamer, Alastair Aiken or Ali-A for short.
Ali was brought to Lollypop Farm almost two years from the day that my family lost our ‘big dog’ Grace to cancer. There was no replacing Grace and my heart was not ready to love another dog. It took me those two years before I could even think about adding another dog to the family. During that time, Bella (my Chihuahua/pug mix )was enjoying her status as the only dog and pretending to be in charge of our three cats.
It was shortly before Christmas when my colleague Gillian burst into my office. “Come with me, you need to see this!” I didn’t know that secretly Gillian had been searching for my new dog for months. We walked down to the training center, and there she was …this beautiful golden retriever. Ali was in that in-between stage of puppy and adult with legs too long for the rest of her skinny body. She had sweet brown eyes and a light golden coat. This was the puppy that was missing from our lives, and she was ready for a new home! My home.
But first, I needed my son to meet her. She would be his dog as much as mine. He, unlike me, had been ready for another dog for quite some time. It was, as they say, love at first sight.
The adoption process – even the president of Lollypop Farm goes through the adoption process – went smoothly. Bonnie, one of our awesome volunteers, helped me. She explained the microchip and vaccines Ali had received, we talked about pet insurance and even the Pet Peeves Helpline should I run into any challenging behaviors. She was now ours!
For the first few days this eight-month-old puppy was fairly low key. But once she got used to her new home, her energetic, exuberant puppy-side came out in full force. How was I going to channel all this energy? Was I really ready for the challenge?
But I knew that I wasn’t alone in this journey. The team at Lollypop Farm was there to help me not just with my adoption, but after too. Lollypop Farm offers dog training classes for dogs at all levels, from puppy to adult. So, I signed us up for the basic manners class. We attended six weeks of class instructed by Brittany, who was amazingly patient with us. Ali was entirely interested in meeting the other dogs in the class and not so much on learning. Never-the-less, we made it to the end and received our Certificate of Completion!
Ali and I are now ten months into our relationship, and I can’t imagine what took me so long to open my heart to another dog. Ali is loving, funny, intuitive, and very in tune with people’s emotions. She loves to play and shows me the definition of joy every day.